The fact that Gov. Bentley of Alabama is a medical doctor reminds me of a study I saw years ago, of medical students. The top characteristic was the desire for status. I thought the 2nd would be desire for money. No, that was third. The second most predominant characteristic of the medical students was sadism. The article didn't give specifics about what that meant. I have seen other studies that have found that many (certainly not all) in "helping" professions, such as nursing and teaching, are motivated by a desire for power over others.
by David Underhill April 12th, 2012
MOBILE, Ala. — I didn’t like counting out the coins from the fruit jar and adding up how far they would go toward a family’s unpaid bill at the medical group practice where I worked. They fell short. Policy said no patients owing money could get service. Practice allowed exceptions. Both the mother who’d brought the jar and her baby were visibly, audibly sick, and the top doc relented. King Solomon with an MD degree said the clinic would treat one of them. The mother selected the baby, of course.
That was an especially jolting episode, but the routine handling of insurance, billing and medical records was an education. It revealed a system that turns health care into a tool of extortion. Pay and you will receive treatment that eases your pain, perhaps saves your life. Don’t and you will get nothing, or get slow and shoddy service, and perhaps die early.
Some refuse to submit. A human speed bump catches the eye. This was in the driveway of a fast food joint. I tried to get him up and out of the way but he was barely conscious. Somebody called 911. Teetering near a coma, he noticed the approaching siren and began to mumble. I leaned an ear toward his mouth and he was saying: “Please, don’t let them take me to the hospital…I can’t afford to go to the hospital…don’t let them take me there…I’d rather die.”
When Dr. Robert Bentley of Tuscaloosa dropped his medical practice and took up politics full time as governor, he took The Grover Norquist Pledge too. Swearing never to raise no taxes on nobody for nothing has become an initiation rite for Republicans. Their fierce loyalty to this oath suggests the mystic grip of ceremonies inducting priests and mafiosos into their calling.
At budget hearings in the house of representatives witnesses told devotees of The Pledge [The Grover Norquist No New Taxes Pledge] what to expect if they made the contemplated cuts. The head of the state’s public health agency warned that, among other blights, kidney patients could lose access to dialysis.
“I know exactly what happens if you don’t dialysize people,” he said. “They’re dead in two weeks.”
It doesn’t matter that property taxes for mega-landowners are shockingly low and sales taxes on food and medicines shockingly high. It doesn’t matter that the poor regularly pay a larger percent of their income in state and local taxes than the wealthy do. Any alteration of these highly regressive arrangements to increase total revenues would involve raising somebody’s taxes. And that is forbidden — particularly if the alterations would require those with more to pay more.
These deadly things are being done by Right to Lifers. Most of the politicians mangling the state’s budget, and the voters giving them that role, fervently oppose abortion and trumpet the sanctity of life. Yet they align with the crowds at Republican presidential debates cheering for executions and for the death of the ill who took a chance on staying uninsured and can’t pay cash for medical services to save themselves. They generally adore war too, or have few hesitations about it, at least.
This embrace of death is so persistent and intense among Right to Lifers that they can’t truly believe in the right and sanctity of life. Instead, their stridently professed devotion to life — in the womb — serves as a bloated moral camouflage for neglect or hostility to life in other stages.
Only a conscience numbed in this manner could endure the contradiction of proclaiming the Right to Life while adhering to The Pledge that no taxes shall be raised, regardless of the consequences. This means some citizens denied health services will die, so that others may retain more money to play with in their investment portfolios and real estate speculations.
The majority in the legislature is at ease with this outcome, in mind and soul. So is the governor.